Monday, November 04, 2013

Tonight's the night

In theory I should be having a nice quiet day today to keep me fresh for my overnight stint in the At The Races studio for the Melbourne Cup coverage.  That, of course, is not happening - but, then again, if Matt Chapman is on form, I probably won't be required to say very much tonight anyway.  Anyway, I'm sure that I'll get through the night OK - it's just tomorrow (Tuesday) that might be quite a struggle.  It used to be easy when the ATR studio was in London and I could sleep on the train on the way home, but the 70 minutes' drive back from Milton Keynes at dawn after no sleep might be a test - and then the rest of the day will be even more testing.

Anyway, roll on the night.  As things stand, my three against the field look like being Verema, Fiorente and Simenon, with Voleuse De Coeurs and Dandino being the two who might be vying for a position in my final three.  It's going to be very exciting.  And let's hope that it's a lovely sunny day for the 100,000+ racegoers at Flemington, just like today was here (as you can see in these three photographs) which was lovely, as was yesterday - with, unbelievably, about eight hours of steady rain overnight in between times, meaning that the property is saturated once again.

Oh yes, one other thing.  The full foot in the stirrups.  Peter Gunn, probably best remembered as Buzzard's Bay's jockey (although unfortunately not in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot) has pointed out to me that he, too, still rides with his full foot in the iron, so that's another one of us keeping the old standards up on the Heath.  I'd imagine that Smad Place's many backers at Huntingdon yesterday would prefer it if Robert Thornton adopted a similar practice.

Robert gave a classic illustration of the folly of race-riding with one's toes in the irons, falling off Smad Place when well clear at the last fence because his left foot slipped out of the strirrup.  He's a terrific rider and would not have fallen off had he not lost his stirrup - but he did, and so he did.  Which was unfortunate, even if it came with the consolation of providing a timely illustration of my point.  There is, you see, some merit in living in the past.

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